Podcasters "Buy" Listens Via Mobile Game Ads; Brands Hurry to Comply with Data Laws

In today's ExchangeWire news digest: a report from Bloomberg finds that some podcast networks are acquiring listeners via ads in mobile games that trigger automatic downloads;  brands hasten to become compliant with California's data privacy laws following Sephora's USD $1.2m fine; and LINE MAN Wongnai becomes Thailand's largest tech startup after reaching a valuation of over USD $1bn.


Podcasters acquiring impressions through mobile game ads

Podcast makers are garnering millions of listeners using mobile game ads that cause an episode of their show to automatically download onto a player’s device. Whenever a player taps on the ad, which they may be encouraged to do with the promise of an in-game reward, an episode from a podcast they may never have heard of is automatically downloaded onto their phone, allowing the podcast company to claim an additional download and a new listener.

The service is provided through Jun Group, which places this type of ad in more than 1,000 mobile apps to make “consumers aware of products, websites and podcasts”, according to CEO Corey Weiner. IHeartMedia Inc. has reportedly spent over USD $10m (~£9.4m) on such ads from Jun Group since 2018, gaining around six million unique listens per month as a result.

The tactic is questionable to some analysts, who say that it could debase the value of downloads and listens as the main metrics for ad sales. Bloomberg’s Ashley Carman points out that ads are inserted into an episode from the minute it’s downloaded, meaning that another impression is counted by the network sales team whether or not the user listens long enough for them to play.


Marketers increase efforts to comply with privacy regulation following Sephora suit

More brands are reviewing their data policies to ensure they comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) after beauty retailer Sephora agreed to a USD $1.2m (~£1.1m) penalty for allegedly breaching the regulation. 

According to advertising executives and consultants, few businesses made a substantial effort to make sure they were in line with the CCPA following its implementation in 2020 because they did not believe it applied to them or that non-compliance would lead to severe consequences. Many focused more heavily on adhering to the EU’s GDPR, which has garnered sizeable fines from tech heavyweights like Amazon and Meta. 

However, the upcoming California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), which seeks to bolster the existing law, could cause many brands to be caught out if they fail to act, particularly as it does not include the 30-day grace period to attempt to remedy transgressions granted under the CCPA.  


LINE MAN Wongnai becomes Thailand’s biggest tech startup

The valuation of LINE MAN Wongnai has climbed to more than USD $1bn (~£936m), making them the largest tech startup in Thailand. The achievement follows a Series B investment round led by GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and LINE Corporation, which raised USD $265m (~£248m). 

According to a company press release, the latest injection of capital will be used to bolster the food delivery app’s “strong position” in the space by allowing them to expand their range of services, improve their existing tech stack, and increase their technical workforce to 450 employees.

LINE MAN Wongnai, which emerged from the union of on-demand assistant app LINE MAN and restaurant review platform Wongnai in 2020, currently offers food and grocery delivery, as well as messenger and taxi services. The company saw their monthly orders made via their food delivery service multiply by more than 15 times from January 2020 to August 2022.


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Fact of the Day

£46m – the amount spent on podcast advertising in the UK in 2021.

Source: Cybercrew